There has been a situation or two now, where at the end of the day I've sat down to collect my thoughts and found myself thinking, hmm, I reckon there might have been a slight element of danger in that particular activity. I've been torn on whether to blog about these incidents, on the one hand they are awesome stories and on the other they probably depict disproportionately risky situations which may result in needless worry. So it is with family in mind, I will wait until I get back home to tell you about such incidents. I apologise to those who would have enjoyed reading about my near death experiences with a faulty chainsaw and close encounters with rabid wildlife, instead I will write about the almost as heart pounding topic of…… local food.
I heard earlier it is raining in Queensland again, which reminded me of overpriced bananas and renewed my appreciation at the ten kilos that arrived in a large bowl atop a local ladies heard earlier this week. The balancing skills of the women here are something to admire, buckets, bowls and bundles of all sorts carried miles and rarely using any hands, in reality, many women have a bucket in each hand at the same time. Laurensia tells me the heavier the load, the easier it is to balance items but I'm in awe regardless. With only the five of us, we didn't need ten kilograms of bananas but the woman was only asking four thousand shillings for the lot. That's about $2.30 in Australian dollars, so I wasn't about so say sorry, we only want half and make her carry the remainder, back the however many kilometres she'd travelled. It's turned out well though, as I have discovered the banana pancake and there is no going back now. Pawpaw and mangoes also grow well here and are offered up cheaply, so for fruit for the period I'm living well, though I am thinking it's going to be a long time before my next peach or apricot…
As far as trying way out local food goes, there isn't much to choose from. It's generally beans, meat and rice. The security guys do have a couple of interesting items on their menu though, that I will try at some stage. "Daaga" is salted dried fish similar to the whitebait you get in some Asian restaurants and "Ugali" is a kind of thick porridge made from maize flour, which is used for dipping meat or "daaga" into, generally at lunch time. "Chips mayai" is another thing that Laurensia has introduced me to, that I will definitely bring back to Australia. It is basically a serve of chips, deep fried, then put in a pan where a few eggs are cracked on top making a kind of chip covered omelette. I'm also hanging out to try some interesting market produce along the lake on the way out and J.C promised to bring a supply of biltong (dried meat similar to jerky) with him on returning in March, which they make that out of whatever's around. Ostrich is a favourite, so I may yet eat some sort of exotic fauna before I leave (Shout out to my vegan sister, love ya Jade!)
Ok, funny story right at the end for those of you who have stuck with this update. I was on yet another hike through the Tanzanian countryside the other day and wouldn't you know it I stumbled into a patch of the old marahoochie, the old sticky icky, so after blazing down a quick spliff, I floated onward back to camp to satisfy my sudden craving for some banana pancakes... Ok, I threw that last bit in for a laugh but I did indeed find a patch of the stuff, well as best I can tell from what I've seen in the text books... Anyway I hightailed it out of there pretty quick though, not only was I not keen on meeting the farmer but in the back of my mind I remember reading, along with the humble blue movie, the stuff will get you thirty years over here. Ah TIA, This Is Africa and who knows what the place is going to offer up next.